I hope this is allowed, and if it's not I'm truly sorry. I got this issue of BHMAGAZINO, a Greek magazine, and there was this little tribute to MJ. I completely adored the pictures since I hadn't seen them before, and I thought it would be cool if I scanned it and presented it to you too. I've also translated the article just in case some of you want to know what it is.
Again, I am truly sorry if this isn't allowed, feel free to delete it:
Michael Jackson as we never saw him before.
Exclusive photos from Neverland.
THE MAN IN THE MIRROR
1. It's January 1992 and the King of Pop rehearses his unforgettable dance moves non-stop, above the waves of Pebble Beach. The rocks are his own stage and the sun plays the role of the stage lights. The clouds of scandals haven't yet shadowed his bright persona.
2. Even though Michael wasn't really the one to be confident and talkative in front of the cameras, it seems that Indian Dilip Mehta managed to "unlock" him and through rare shots, he proved that "Wacko Jacko" was, indeed, a human.
3. Black shoes, white socks. His clothing style, surrounded by his usual tight black pants, the lop-sided hat, the shiny glove and the white bandage, marked the overweening fashion in the ‘80s.
4. In Neverland, next to the roller coasters and the carousels, lived lots of Michael's friends - among them his loyal chimpanzee Bubbles. Nowadays the animals' tracks from Neverland are lost throughout the world.
5. Michael Jackson's on the phone of his office and Dilip Mehta is having fun messing with his reflection in the mirror.
6. The Indian's lens zooms in the face of the King of Pop. Evidence of the first plastic surgeries on his face are visible - nose and chin - while his skin is already paler.
It was Michael Jackson, the one that sold 750 million records, had 13 No1 Billboards hits, 13 Grammys, countless Guinness records, mythical world tours, dizzying commercial deals, did the Moonwalk, built Neverland. And then, it was Michael Jackson, the one with the stolen childhood, the weird isolation, the money problems, the law problems, the addiction to drugs, the plastic surgeries. The universal musical phenomenon, the lonely shadowed figure, the tragically blessed composer and performer, the incurable Peter Pan trapped in an adult's body, the first - and probably last - king of pop, left us at 51, just before the clapping: In the 13th of July 2009, after years of deafening silence, he would return to take back his crown with 50 sold out shows in the London O2 Arena with the "This Is It" tour. Now, 750.000 tickets look like the ultimate after-death souvenir. Lots of people have decided to not redeem them. So, this was it...
Eighteen years earlier, long before people deconstructed the King of Pop's questionable persona, an Indian photographer of "National Geographic" and "Fortune" had the rare opportunity to turn his camera towards the controversial idol. He was invited in January 1991 in the dreamland of "Neverland, Dilip Mehta captured a series of elusive colored & black and white pictures with the most ethereal, funny, peaceful, impulsive and vulnerable side of the eccentric star, who weirdly enough seemed to enjoy flirting with the camera. The Indian photographer met Jackson through his fellow countryman, Deepak Chopra. "He called me "Magic D", because he found some spirituality in my work," he remembers. "He completely overwhelmed me. While working with him, I was amazed by his simplicity and honesty. His skill, his bravery, his loyalty... He worked and worked until he could touch the untouchable, the perfect." And he did.
With notes and jerky - as many people say - pirouettes, Michael Jackson built a path to a gradual justification of black Americans in every level, long before Oprah Winfrey enjoyed her TV throne or Michael Jordan swept the NBA floors with his magical dribbles or Barack Obama became a president with a rock star's popularity. "Growing up in the 60s and listening to all those amazing stuff that had never happened before - like Beatles, Stones - one would say "what else could really impress me?", especially in black music, with artists like Steve Wonder and Marvin Gaye. But he did. Those first songs of Jackson in 1970, even if they were juvenile and light, they didn’t pass unnoticed," explains Giannis Petridis, a radio producer. "He followed a gradually developing career until we were all shocked with "Off The Wall", his debut album with Quincy Jones, a milestone in the history of music. And then comes "Thriller" one of the best albums ever - most artists are considered lucky to have one album like those two in their whole lives. They've been both ripped off a million times, along with the next ones too ("Bad" and "Dangerous")".
7.Smiling and full of energy in January 1991 in Neverland. That's how the millions of fans want to remember the resident of Neverland, forgetting the tragic and morbid aspects of his troubled life.
8. No defenses. Michael Jackson falls asleep in the backseat of his limo. Next to him, the famous Indian doctor, philosopher, friend of Michael, Deepak Chopra, the one that got Dilip a ticket to the deepest corners of Neverland.
9. A brief break in the studio of his home. Jackson's whole life was a rehearsal. Except for the last self-destructive years of his life, he followed the routine of a champion. The recording studio and the dance floors were both his school and playground. The last pictures of his life were taken during a rehearsal.
Maybe that's why the news of his death stilled the world for some minutes. Or at least the internet world. Twitter, Google and Wikipedia reached their limits and for a moment froze under the pressure of millions of visits. Panic hit the Amazon and eBay stores, selling records, books or any kind of souvenir to those who miss the ‘80s and want to have a little piece of their teenage idol. In Greece, there were similar reactions: "After his death, all his albums were sold out and we also gave 3000 copies of "King of Pop" in Greece and Cyprus in only two mornings," says Dimitris Giarmenitis, managing director of Sony Hellas. And he thinks it's completely predictable and normal: "I've seen Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Madonna, U2, everyone - except for the Beatles - but what I saw in that man, I hadn't seen it before. When I heard that he died, I wrote a message to my co-workers, saying: 'He united Fred Astaire's art, Elvis' shake, Frank Sinatra's performing ability with an African-feline natural scream, the unique sound of Motown with the best sound production of Quincy Jones in the '80s. (...) No matter what I see after his shows in all musical genres, they look like home-made production'". Giorgos Polihroniou also remembers him in awe: "It was such an amazing production of flawless shows that of course got ahead of everything we had seen. Only the word "perfection" can describe the dance moves and performance of this man. As for the fans' reactions, they were from being excited to becoming completely hysterical. It really is a shame we never got to see one of Michael Jackson shows in the Olympic Stadium".
In the scale of musical legends, his timeless androgynous persona stands between Elvis and Beatles. There are unbreakable bonds in this musical "Trinity": Jackson collaborated with Paul McCartney, bought the rights to 200+ Beatles songs and married Elvis' only daughter. But that's not the only thing that ties the king of Pop to the king of Rock n' Roll. "He had once told Miko Brando, who was his good friend, that he'd rather die like Elvis Presley instead of dying like Marlon Brando," explains Giannis Petridis, who was in the USA when Jackson's death was announced: "I heard it on the radio while driving at the dessert of Utah - it's creepy how, in the summer of '77 I was also driving somewhere in Italy when I heard about Elvis' death. Even though I was driving towards another direction, I stopped at the first city I found and walked in a motel, watching all the breaking news and tributes on TV." Suddenly, memories and music started dancing wild in the mind of those who had the chance, even for a glimpse of a moment, to touch his myth.
Mehta's revealing camera follows Jackson, who looks like a Peruvian villager wrapped around his blanket, in one of his lonely walks on Pebble Beach of California.
"I met him in May 1988 as the marketing director of Sony Hellas, right before his show in Rome during the "Bad" tour," Giorgos Polichroniou remembers. "Representatives from all countries that weren't involved in his tours visited to give him his gold and platinum awards. In those 15 minutes we spent together, the reputation of him being an untouchable, snob vendetta was destroyed. After greeting him and taking a picture, he shook our hands. He was very plain and simple. He was like an innocent, smiling, shy, cautious little boy." There were very little artists and reporters in that meeting. One of them was Giannis Petridis: "Even though there were lots of people around him, he was pretty approachable, he wasn't distant or snob, like so many other artists. His behavior wasn't fake, he didn't have to prove anything." He left the same kind of impression to Dimitris Giarmenitis. What followed, though, was different: "It was one of his shows in Munich, one of his last ones. He was much more approachable and a lot had changed. His face was extremely thin, he had black shades on and he wasn't talking, all the while, he just stood there. He was somewhere beyond this world. Of course, the show was great, but he was close to decadence". The changes on his face from plastic surgeries, his more and more weird behavior, the debts, the accusations of child abuse and molestation, the trip to Bahrain, the fall and sell-out of Neverland, the much-expected return, the end. Everyone on TV has already investigated in every second of his last vivid moments. Those who admire him prefer to talk about his bright times.
In Giannis Petridis' memories, present and past tense are being awkwardly confused: "He is one of the biggest performers I have ever seen in my life. To me, he was something original. Upmost. A pioneer. A unique mix of Fred Astaire, James Brown and Sammy Davis Jr. All the black music scene of the '90s, or even the present decade - men and women - they are all his children, from Beyonce to Usher. They have all copied his style and moves. However, these things never happen again. Because Michael Jackson's talent was inborn. He wasn't a constructed idol - at least not in the beginning of things - but a multi-talented, amazing black artist. It's a shame that many people focus on everything else but the music of such mythical musical personalities."
"What united and still unites the millions of his fans from India to France, from Japan to Mexico, was of course his music, along with a childishness that his appearance gave him," Giorgos Polichroniu concludes. "In the worst of the cases, you only just liked him." The dead one always finds justice.
The last sentence is an Ancient Greek phrase translated in English and it doesn't really makes sense if you don't know the original one. Also, sorry for the not so great quality of the scans, my scanner is too old lol, andddd sorry for any mistakes in the translation, Greek is a real pain in the ass :/
I have lots of magazines with tributes to Michael, if any of you would like to have a look or anything like that, let me know so I can scan them :)))